BONN (Jan. 17)
The chairman of the West German Jewish community and the leader of an extreme right-wing, reputedly neo-Nazi party here are locked in verbal battle over who bears responsibility for a resurgence of anti-Semitism in West Germany.
Heinz Galinski, the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, reacted sharply Tuesday to charges made by the leader of the Republican Party that it was Galinski himself who was responsible for the anti-Semitic binge.
In an interview with the daily newspaper Augsburger Allgemeiner, Galinski said the allegation, made by Franz Schoenhuber, was one of the most was claims he had ever confronted.
Schoenhuber, a former Waffen SS officer who heads the Republicans, made his accusation against Galinski at the Republican Party convention in Rosenheim, Bavaria, last week.
He said it was high time Galinski stopped “slandering German patriots,” meaning himself and his followers.
Galinski observed some “similarities” between the Republicans and the Nazis, such as their use of the term “patriot” to imply that those who disagree with them are not patriotic.
Galinski said, “If any other politician had said this, I would have considered suing him.” However, he continued, “Schoenhuber is in no way a partner. I won’t deal with him.”
Schoenhuber has not been coy in previous remarks about Jews, either. Last year, Schoenhuber referred to the German Jewish community as “the fifth occupying power in our country,” the other four being the wartime Allies.
On another occasion, he declared that “contrary to some other politicians, I do not feel myself obliged to love Galinski just because he is Jewish.”
West Germany’s Jewish community regards the Republican Party with growing alarm, especially since it has declared German reunification to be its main goal.
Galinski pointed out that the dangers posed by the Republicans have become more acute in view of recent developments between the two Germanys.
The Republicans claim they have thousands of followers in East Germany, where they hope to make a strong showing in the May 6 elections.